Taking a break from reviewing Athens, Ohio, or Marvel work, Jim asked Sandy about his work on 1993's Spectre [Vol 3] #3 cover for DC Comics.
I'd done some work for DC before I got a call to do this cover. Neal Adams helped get me my first job for the company. He had this deal with them -- if they gave a script to an aspiring artist he thought had promise, he would ink the resulting pencils, thus guaranteeing that even if the guy turned out not so promising, Neal would save the job with his inks.
I think I had moved to Ohio by the time I'd received the assignment and never did meet the editor. We didn't establish the best of relationships but I don't remember the reason for the friction. Deadline issues? Quality? What I do remember is this: a couple days after the cover hit the stands, I got a phone a call. Picked up the receiver and a very distinctive voice came through the other end, "Hi, this is Harlan Ellison."
Fans of science fiction of the late 60's through the 80's will recognize that name as a preeminent writer and media critic of the time. He was/is a tremendous fan of Golden Age characters and wanted to buy the original. I happily obliged. And thus, whatever the editor thought about the cover, I was feeling pretty smug, having received validation from such a esteemed fan favorite.
I did a fair number of roughs before I managed to come up with something that expressed what I felt was the intrinsic nature of the character- an awful (in the biblical sense) instrument of divine judgement and retribution.
Spectre Vol 3 #3-related images from Sandy's archive are below
Two more Ant-Man pieces, in support of a previous post
Sandy's original color guide for one of the Ant-Man pages
Artwork done to help sell an Ant-Man proposal to the powers-that-be at Marvel
The day after seeing Ant-Man in the theater, Jim throws a few questions at Sandy (below) about his Ant-Man work in 1993's Marvel Comics Presents Vol 1 #131.
Can't say there was anything that "lead up" to getting this job exactly. I had written a four part Daredevil story for the same title, Marvel Comics Presents, a while earlier and had a good relationship with the editor, Terry Kavanaugh. I think I just said something like, "Hey, want an Ant-Man story?" and he said something like, "go for it." MCP was an experiment for the company--an anthology book that came out twice a month. That schedule meant they were burning through material at an alarming rate. I think they weren't being very particular about what they stuck into the book so long as the pages were rectangular and there was a Marvel superhero somewhere in the story.
That's the only time I handled Ant-Man, though I did submit a proposal for an Ant-Man graphic novel that actually climbed up the corporate chain of command for a while, until it didn't any more. As usual, no explanation as to why it stalled out but I wasn't particularly surprised or disappointed. Getting a proposal approved in comics is something like taking a whack at that game they used to have at carnivals... the one where you take a swing with an over-sized mallet and hit this little lever that sends a weight up a pole toward a bell. Very rarely does that weight make it all the way to the top and reward you with that little "bong" of success. I don't remember much about the plot I came up with [for the graphic novel] but I do remember wanting to exploit the fact that this guy hung out with ants--something no other writer had yet done. I mean, if you know anything about ant societies...!)
I wrote, drew and colored this MCP job. As usual, I was appalled by what happened to the color when it reach the printed page. Marvel had switched some of their books onto a whiter, slicker paper and this meant that the inks weren't being absorbed and muted like on the standard newsprint. This accounts for that Easter egg look.
Plunkett-fan Jim Harris interviewing Sandy about past and present projects.